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Thread: The inevitable march of secularism? Not so fast

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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Default The inevitable march of secularism? Not so fast

    SU always loved to inform us that secularization was a on a steady march that would eventually crush religion, leading us to a glorious future where we sit around and sip our appletinis and wonder about how we ever could have been so foolish as to believe in a divine being. This author presents a compelling argument that such a theory is BS.

    https://aeon.co/ideas/why-religion-i...not-destroy-it

    In brief, global secularisation is not inevitable and, when it does happen, it is not caused by science. Further, when the attempt is made to use science to advance secularism, the results can damage science. The thesis that ‘science causes secularisation’ simply fails the empirical test, and enlisting science as an instrument of secularisation turns out to be poor strategy. The science and secularism pairing is so awkward that it raises the question: why did anyone think otherwise?
    The conflict model of science and religion offered a mistaken view of the past and, when combined with expectations of secularisation, led to a flawed vision of the future. Secularisation theory failed at both description and prediction. The real question is why we continue to encounter proponents of science-religion conflict. Many are prominent scientists. It would be superfluous to rehearse Richard Dawkins’s musings on this topic, but he is by no means a solitary voice. Stephen Hawking thinks that ‘science will win because it works’; Sam Harris has declared that ‘science must destroy religion’; Stephen Weinberg thinks that science has weakened religious certitude; Colin Blakemore predicts that science will eventually make religion unnecessary. Historical evidence simply does not support such contentions. Indeed, it suggests that they are misguided.
    Religion is not going away any time soon, and science will not destroy it. If anything, it is science that is subject to increasing threats to its authority and social legitimacy. Given this, science needs all the friends it can get. Its advocates would be well advised to stop fabricating an enemy out of religion, or insisting that the only path to a secure future lies in a marriage of science and secularism.
    Amen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    SU always loved to inform us that secularization was a on a steady march that would eventually crush religion, leading us to a glorious future where we sit around and sip our appletinis and wonder about how we ever could have been so foolish as to believe in a divine being. This author presents a compelling argument that such a theory is BS.

    https://aeon.co/ideas/why-religion-i...not-destroy-it







    Amen.
    This seems to be his thesis:

    The conflict model of science and religion offered a mistaken view of the past and, when combined with expectations of secularisation, led to a flawed vision of the future. Secularisation theory failed at both description and prediction.
    Just because religion exists, even in scientifically developed societies the 19th century vision must be inaccurate.
    It seems as if the explanation is missing something. Other factors may explain why religion has not been completely eroded such as a search for meaning in light of the absurdity of existence.

    I believe the thesis also oversimplified in order to disprove it.
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    I would like to meet this "australian laureate fellow"

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    The conflict model of science and religion is about a way of thinking.

    It's about the difference between KNOWING something based on data because you've tried excluding the possibility that you're wrong and "KNOWING" something based on feelings and a desire to convince yourself that your preferred belief is correct despite the absence of tangible supportive data.

    That's the conflict--and it's a very real conflict.

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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ByronMarchant View Post
    The conflict model of science and religion is about a way of thinking.

    It's about the difference between KNOWING something based on data because you've tried excluding the possibility that you're wrong and "KNOWING" something based on feelings and a desire to convince yourself that your preferred belief is correct despite the absence of tangible supportive data.

    That's the conflict--and it's a very real conflict.
    That's the conflict as defined by you.

    I think he makes an excellent point at the end. In many ways, science is under attack. Scientists/secularists would be well-served to dial back the hubris and antagonism towards religion.
    "Socialism is not bad IMHO" - byu71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    That's the conflict as defined by you.

    I think he makes an excellent point at the end. In many ways, science is under attack. Scientists/secularists would be well-served to dial back the hubris and antagonism towards religion.
    Below is the conflict as defined by the average religious person.

    You say the answer is to pat the ignorant on the head and say "that's cute." I say the solution is a legitimate college education--especially including general education. It won't save everyone, but it'll help.

    Last edited by ByronMarchant; 09-10-2017 at 01:38 PM.

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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ByronMarchant View Post
    Below is the conflict as defined by the average religious person.

    You say the answer is to pat the ignorant on the head and say "that's cute." I say the solution is a legitimate college education--especially including general education. It won't save everyone, but it'll help.
    Ha. Good luck with that approach.
    "Socialism is not bad IMHO" - byu71
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    вот так штука CardiacCoug's Avatar
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    Even though the tenets of modern secular atheism sure seem literally "true" to me there is something about this ideology that must be false in a psychological/emotional sense for most people. There is a reason that angry atheists like Sam Harris have a much smaller following than positive religious people like Joel Osteen.

    I guess the reason for this is that we are intelligent primates -- we aren't robots. We are social creatures who need to infuse our lives with sociality, positivity, and meaning and modernist secular atheist ideologies are depressing and isolating. Religion and religious causes might continue to play a huge role in helping humans find connection and meaning for many more centuries.

    It's disturbing though for education and science to be a casualty of the religious backlash against secularism in many parts of the world -- I think both pro-religion and anti-religion sides would be good to leave science/evolution out of this battle. Places like Notre Dame and BYU are cool in this way because they bring science and religion into close proximity and people realize that peaceful coexistence isn't a problem.

    Tooblue that's a dumb video. Obviously our home universe, galaxy, and planet are going to seem "designed" for us in a sense because it's all we have and it's the milieu in which we emerged. That doesn't mean there is an intelligent creator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    Even though the tenets of modern secular atheism sure seem literally "true" to me there is something about this ideology that must be false in a psychological/emotional sense for most people. There is a reason that angry atheists like Sam Harris have a much smaller following than positive religious people like Joel Osteen.

    I guess the reason for this is that we are intelligent primates -- we aren't robots. We are social creatures who need to infuse our lives with sociality, positivity, and meaning and modernist secular atheist ideologies are depressing and isolating. Religion and religious causes might continue to play a huge role in helping humans find connection and meaning for many more centuries.

    It's disturbing though for education and science to be a casualty of the religious backlash against secularism in many parts of the world -- I think both pro-religion and anti-religion sides would be good to leave science/evolution out of this battle. Places like Notre Dame and BYU are cool in this way because they bring science and religion into close proximity and people realize that peaceful coexistence isn't a problem.

    Tooblue that's a dumb video. Obviously our home universe, galaxy, and planet are going to seem "designed" for us in a sense because it's all we have and it's the milieu in which we emerged. That doesn't mean there is an intelligent creator.
    What's dumb is your last point: our universe and galaxy are designed for us, precisely because we exist in said universe and galaxy that gave birth to us, regardless the question of whether or not our existence is the result of randomness or ... whatever? We exist as designed by the universe and galaxy we live in.


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    Quote Originally Posted by tooblue View Post
    What's dumb is your last point: our universe and galaxy are designed for us, precisely because we exist in said universe and galaxy that gave birth to us, regardless the question of whether or not our existence is the result of randomness or ... whatever? We exist as designed by the universe and galaxy we live in.

    “The mathematics itself suggests a movement in which everything … enfolds into the whole and the whole enfolds it in it … You could therefore say that everything is enfolded in this whole, or even in each part, and that it then enfolds. I call this implicate order, the enfolded order, and this unfolds into an explicate order. The implicate is the enfolded order. It unfolds into the explicate order, in which everything is separated … The implicate order would help us … to see that everything enfolds everything … everybody not merely depends on everybody, but actually everybody is everybody in a deeper sense. We are earth, because all our substance comes from the earth and goes back to it.” —David Bohm, p. 128, from his book 'On Creativity'

    More related to Lebowski's thoughts, though perhaps abstractly:

    Last edited by tooblue; 09-10-2017 at 03:26 PM.

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    Senior Member Clark Addison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    ... There is a reason that angry atheists like Sam Harris have a much smaller following than positive religious people like Joel Osteen.

    ...

    Tooblue that's a dumb video.
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    вот так штука CardiacCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Addison View Post
    Physician, heal thyself!
    Yeah I prefer Sam Harris to Joel Osteen and always will -- although I enjoy an Osteen pep talk too!

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    can everyone just stop comparing their enfolds please
    Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old_gregg View Post
    can everyone just stop comparing their enfolds please
    Bro, I don't even know what an enfold is. I bet mine is small though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    Bro, I don't even know what an enfold is. I bet mine is small though.
    Humility - one of the reasons HFN is so beloved by secularists and religionists alike.

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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    Bro, I don't even know what an enfold is. I bet mine is small though.
    I don't get it either.
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    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    This thread is suffering from a lack of definitions. Many of you are throwing around the word "religion" but filing to account for the fact that this term means very different things to the various people quoted and to those posting (I am guessing). There has been an obvious and substantial move away from organized adherence to specific sects while, at the same time, there is an increasingly tenacious grip by many on the idea of a spiritual belief in SOMETHING. So will science root out all 'religion?' Clearly not. Will it have an effect on the likelihood that a culture meaningfully supports a specific sect or organized belief system? Probably so, IMO.

    Further, when these guys say that science should fear antagonizing religion and that science is at risk of being compromised by religion, they are not talking about organized religion with specific dogmas. They are, IMO, talking about people who abandon specific religious traditions in favor of a generic, broadband, means-whatever-I-want-it-to-mean, spirituality. Those people tend to believe they have freed their minds from organized religion, and are thus "scientific," while adopting in its stead a series of creeds based in modern trends which may or may not have anything to do with actual science. If science is overwhelmed by religious zealots, it wont come from mormons or catholics or buddhists; it will come from granola munching burning man acolytes who think they know how things ought to be rather than how things are based on empiricism.

    Bottom line, both SU and JL may be correct here.

    These are just my own thoughts, and I freely admit I have not read any of the links here or watched the videos.
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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    These are just my own thoughts, and I freely admit I have not read any of the links here or watched the videos.


    It is a short essay. You should check it out.

    I don't think he is making the argument you just made.
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    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post


    It is a short essay. You should check it out.

    I don't think he is making the argument you just made.
    ok. Well, thats my argument. I will read it.
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    It is NOT a monkey! creekster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    ok. Well, thats my argument. I will read it.
    Honestly, I don't think he makes a very compelling argument. What does he mean by science? Social science or hard science? And what mechanism for rooting out religion was contemplated in the 19th century compared to now? He seems to be taking a very broad correlation (lots of fundamentalists in lots of places) to suggest that the influence of science is not irresistibly directional. That's likely true. But who claimed it was? Was there some deadline that we missed? The correlation between education and secularism, along with economic progress, seems to suggest that there is an effect if the scientific approach is disseminated in a meaningful way. That said Cardia is right, IMO, that we, as the beings that we are, require some sort of connection between us or with the 'other' in order to be happy and complete. As a result, religion will always be around.

    P.S. Sorry I didnt read it first.
    Last edited by creekster; 09-10-2017 at 06:20 PM.
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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creekster View Post
    Honestly, I don't think he makes a very compelling argument. What does he mean by science? Social science or hard science? And what mechanism for rooting out religion was contemplated in the 19th century compared to now? He seems to be taking a very broad correlation (lots of fundamentalists in lots of places) to suggest that the influence of science is not irresistibly directional. That's likely true. But who claimed it was? Was there some deadline that we missed? The correlation between education and secularism, along with economic progress, seems to suggest that there is an effect if the scientific approach is disseminated in a meaningful way. That said Cardia is right, IMO, that we, as the beings that we are, require some sort of connection between us or with the 'other' in order to be happy and complete. As a result, religion will always be around.
    Not sure I would interpret it that way. For me, the main point was that there is an assumption that the broad adoption of science (in all variations) would result in universal secularization. "The march of time is one-directional." That has not happened, especially if you take a global view. Furthermore, this linkage of science to secularization is arguably harmful to science. As societies lash back against secularization, they are often lashing back at science, i.e., throwing out the baby with the bathwater. That is unfortunate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    Even though the tenets of modern secular atheism sure seem literally "true" to me there is something about this ideology that must be false in a psychological/emotional sense for most people. There is a reason that angry atheists like Sam Harris have a much smaller following than positive religious people like Joel Osteen.

    I guess the reason for this is that we are intelligent primates -- we aren't robots. We are social creatures who need to infuse our lives with sociality, positivity, and meaning and modernist secular atheist ideologies are depressing and isolating. Religion and religious causes might continue to play a huge role in helping humans find connection and meaning for many more centuries.

    It's disturbing though for education and science to be a casualty of the religious backlash against secularism in many parts of the world -- I think both pro-religion and anti-religion sides would be good to leave science/evolution out of this battle. Places like Notre Dame and BYU are cool in this way because they bring science and religion into close proximity and people realize that peaceful coexistence isn't a problem.
    Bingo. Well said.
    "Socialism is not bad IMHO" - byu71
    "There is no creature more arrogant than a self-righteous libertarian on the web, am I right? Those folks are just intolerable."
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskyFreeNorthwest View Post
    Bro, I don't even know what an enfold is. I bet mine is small though.

  25. #25

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    For me, the main problem with the article is that it overplays the 'science vs. religion' argument. Yes, there are those who openly advocate the destruction of religion, and believe that the inexorable march towards secularism will be due to science. But relatively few secularists are making that argument. I see more religious people hyping the threat science has against religion, though I am biased. I think most people have made the implicit decision that science and religion are on different 'existential planes', and exist to benefit humanity in different 'trajectories'. In most instances, they only come into conflict when one side overextends its hand or influence in the other's sphere. Like when civil laws are retained solely based on religious belief, or when laws curtail freedom of harmless religious thought.

    Science/secularism benefits humanity in tangible, easily verifiable ways. 'It' will continue to do so. It doesn't unfairly attack religious thought, even though some strident critics may do so. Secularism can certainly criticize harmful religious thoughts or practices, and in many instances it has led religions to healthy reform. But there shouldn't be a logical conclusion of secularism destroying religion, or at least spirituality. Spirituality benefits the other aspect of humanity like Cardiac said. Not only can it improve an individual's emotional health, it can help us behave better in society than what our base humanity would dictate. But, religion can overplay its hand by encroaching on secularism's turf by mandating its norms in the larger world.

    The article mentions the decline of religious affiliation in many countries, but comes to the different conclusion that religion isn't going anywhere. I agree, but I think it's clear that the power of organized religion is declining. This is inevitable. It seems to follow societal evolution towards freedom in general. People will continue to stop affiliating with groups that go against their sense of morality. When enough people leave, the religions reform. I'm sure human history has many generations of continuing organized religion. But it is inevitable that the ranks of unaffiliateds will continue to grow. My impression is that most in this camp are sincerely live and let live people. They might look upon religious people with curious bemusement, but they are not hostile towards religious people. Again, I don't think they are looking for a fight, as this article seems to suggest that most secularists are. They don't like when religion affects them negatively, but those conflicts seem to be started more often from the religious side.

    Science/secularism will do its thing, and religion/spirituality the same. People should let them exist in their own spheres, and benefit from both of them as they best see fit.

  26. #26

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    Religion: "I 'know' the Church is true because I feel it."

    Science: "I need to put my feelings aside and find unbiased ways to answer my questions. In order to eliminate my feelings, I'll need to be blinded about the groups that I'm analyzing and unblind the labels at the end of the experiment. Also, I'll need an objective third party to look at the results independently. After that, we will see if a different scientists around the world make consistent discoveries using a variety of approaches."


    Religion: We heal by the laying on of hands.

    Science: Here's some medicine that was validated in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial.


    Religion: Speak from your heart and a higher power will hear you even though it's hard to know for sure if someone is really listening.

    Science: Just call me on your cell phone.


    I'm not saying religion has no value. I'm just saying that it has LESS value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ByronMarchant View Post
    Religion: "I 'know' the Church is true because I feel it."

    Science: "I need to put my feelings aside and find unbiased ways to answer my questions. In order to eliminate my feelings, I'll need to be blinded about the groups that I'm analyzing and unblind the labels at the end of the experiment. Also, I'll need an objective third party to look at the results independently. After that, we will see if a different scientists around the world make consistent discoveries using a variety of approaches."


    Religion: We heal by the laying on of hands.

    Science: Here's some medicine that was validated in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial.


    Religion: Speak from your heart and a higher power will hear you even though it's hard to know for sure if someone is really listening.

    Science: Just call me on your cell phone.


    I'm not saying religion has no value. I'm just saying that it has LESS value.

    I don't see a necessary conflict there. These views can exist together. Yeah, people are dumb who discount science because of their religion. That goes without saying. That goes for any bias though.

    I also don't see the point in trying to quantify the value here. That's like saying my headache medicine in more effective than my decongestant.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by beefytee View Post
    I don't see a necessary conflict there. These views can exist together. Yeah, people are dumb who discount science because of their religion. That goes without saying. That goes for any bias though.

    I also don't see the point in trying to quantify the value here. That's like saying my headache medicine in more effective than my decongestant.
    Marchant is speaking from a flawed and outdated model for how rational thinking and decision-making occurs. The idea that emotions are irrational impulses that lead to irrational thinking and decision-making is incorrect.

    "When emotion is entirely left out of the reasoning picture, as happens in certain neurological conditions, reason turns out to be even more flawed than when emotion plays bad tricks on our decisions." (preface, Decartes Error - Antonio Damasio)

    "The action of biological drives, body states and emotions may be an indispensable foundation for rationality. The lower levels in the neural edifice of reason are the same that regulate the processing of emotions and feelings, along with global functions of the body proper such that the organism can survive. These lower levels maintain direct and mutual relationships with the body proper, thus placing the body within the chain of operations that permit the highest reaches of reason and creativity. Rationality is probably shaped and modulated by body signals, even as it performs the most sublime distinctions and acts accordingly. (p.200, Decartes Error - Antonio Damasio)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacCoug View Post
    Even though the tenets of modern secular atheism sure seem literally "true" to me there is something about this ideology that must be false in a psychological/emotional sense for most people. There is a reason that angry atheists like Sam Harris have a much smaller following than positive religious people like Joel Osteen.

    I guess the reason for this is that we are intelligent primates -- we aren't robots. We are social creatures who need to infuse our lives with sociality, positivity, and meaning and modernist secular atheist ideologies are depressing and isolating. Religion and religious causes might continue to play a huge role in helping humans find connection and meaning for many more centuries.

    It's disturbing though for education and science to be a casualty of the religious backlash against secularism in many parts of the world -- I think both pro-religion and anti-religion sides would be good to leave science/evolution out of this battle. Places like Notre Dame and BYU are cool in this way because they bring science and religion into close proximity and people realize that peaceful coexistence isn't a problem.

    Tooblue that's a dumb video. Obviously our home universe, galaxy, and planet are going to seem "designed" for us in a sense because it's all we have and it's the milieu in which we emerged. That doesn't mean there is an intelligent creator.
    I like this and agree with what creekster wrote as well.

    Honestly, I don't think he makes a very compelling argument. What does he mean by science? Social science or hard science? And what mechanism for rooting out religion was contemplated in the 19th century compared to now? He seems to be taking a very broad correlation (lots of fundamentalists in lots of places) to suggest that the influence of science is not irresistibly directional. That's likely true. But who claimed it was? Was there some deadline that we missed? The correlation between education and secularism, along with economic progress, seems to suggest that there is an effect if the scientific approach is disseminated in a meaningful way. That said Cardia is right, IMO, that we, as the beings that we are, require some sort of connection between us or with the 'other' in order to be happy and complete. As a result, religion will always be around.
    "Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein."

    Upon rejecting the Beatles, Dick Rowe told Brian Epstein of the January 1, 1962 audition for Decca, which signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead.

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    Trump-hating snowflake Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Byron, that is a grossly oversimplistic caricature of religion. Come on.


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